Dr Elsbeth Robson

Dr Elsbeth Robson

Reader in Human Geography

Faculty and Department

  • Faculty of Science and Engineering
  • School of Environmental Sciences

Qualifications

  • MA (Keele University)
  • PhD (University of Oxford)
  • BSc (Durham University)

Summary

Elsbeth is a human and development geographer with research and teaching interests in social inequality, ethics and social justice, particularly with respect to women and children/youth. Her research embraces qualitative, participatory and quantitative research methods. Geographically her research concentrates on sub-Saharan Africa. In the UK Dr Elsbeth Robson has been employed by/affiliated with the Universities of Keele, Durham, Liverpool and Brunel and in Africa the University of Malawi and Ahmadhu Bello University, Nigeria. She has been a visiting scholar at the University of Zimbabwe, Gothenborg University (Sweden), University of Oulu (Finland) and Leiden University (Netherlands).

Founding chair Save the children UK Research and Evaluation Ethics Committee ( 2016 - 2019).

Co-Editor Children's Geographies journal (Taylor & Francis) 2012-2015.

Invited contributor to UNICEF Expert round table on children's Care Work, Florence, Dec 2016.

Consultant for and contributor to UNICEF Ethical Research Involving Children: International Charter and Guidelines www.childethics.com

FRGS (Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers, since 1990)

Former Member of the Association of American Geographers

Council member, African Studies Association UK

SFHEA (Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, since 2015)

UKCGE Recognised Research Supervisor (2022)

330114 Introduction to Geography (module leader)

400145 Exploring Worlds Around Us

400150 Development and Change (module leader)

500182 UK Fieldtrip

600266 Dissertation in Human Geography

600256 Conservation in a Changing World

600250 Feeding the City

600249 Cities and Regions

700208 Contemporary Research in Human Geography (module leader)

701285 DTP Doctoral Training Year 1 (module leader)

700449 Dissertation in Social Research

Recent outputs

View more outputs

Journal Article

Mobile phone use and the welfare of community health nurses in Ghana: An analysis of unintended costs

Robson, E., Hampshire, K., Abane, A., Kasim, A., Owusu, S., & Mariwah, S. (2021). Mobile phone use and the welfare of community health nurses in Ghana: An analysis of unintended costs. World Development Perspectives, 23, Article 100317. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wdp.2021.100317

Informal mhealth at scale in Africa : opportunities and challenges

Hampshire, K., Mwase-Vuma, T., Alemu, K., Abane, A., Munthali, A., Awoke, T., …Kasim, A. S. (2021). Informal mhealth at scale in Africa : opportunities and challenges. World Development, 140, Article 105257. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2020.105257

Formalising 'informal' mHealth in Ghana: Opportunities and challenges for Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

Mariwah, S., Machistey Abane, A., Asiedu Owusu, S., Kasim, A., Robson, E., Castelli, M., & Hampshire, K. (in press). Formalising ‘informal’ mHealth in Ghana: Opportunities and challenges for Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Global Public Health, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1080/17441692.2021.1874467

Mobile phones, gender, and female empowerment in sub-Saharan Africa: studies with African youth

Porter, G., Hampshire, K., Abane, A., Munthali, A., Robson, E., De Lannoy, A., …Owusu, S. (2020). Mobile phones, gender, and female empowerment in sub-Saharan Africa: studies with African youth. Information Technology for Development, 26(1), 180-193. https://doi.org/10.1080/02681102.2019.1622500

Connecting with home, keeping in touch: Physical and virtual mobility across stretched families in sub-Saharan Africa

Porter, G., Hampshire, K., Abane, A., Munthali, A., Robson, E., Tanle, A., …Bango, A. (2018). Connecting with home, keeping in touch: Physical and virtual mobility across stretched families in sub-Saharan Africa. Africa, 88(2), 404-424. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001972017000973

Research interests

Engagement with policy and practice underlies my research / consultancy and I have considerable experience of knowledge exchange ensuring policy relevance and maximum impact.

My recent research and consultancy in Malawi (since 2004) involves collaborating internationally with universities, government and non-governmental organizations; while being informed by political economy and feminist theoretical approaches (with a concern for ethics).

Knowledges, Cultures & Space research group

Institute of Applied Ethics

Centre for Spirituality Studies

Major research projects:

Building an Evidence Base to Support and Enhance Community Health Workers' (informal) use of Mobile Phones in Ghana, Malawi and Ethiopia

MRC-Wellcome Trust-DFID-ESRC 2018-2019 £197,472 PI Prof Kate Hampshire (Durham)

Social Cash Transfers, generational relations and youth poverty trajectories in rural Lesotho and Malawi

ESRC-DFID PI Prof Nicola Ansell (Brunel), CoIs Robson, van Blerk, Hajdu, Mwathunga, Hlabana 2015-2019, £338,000

https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Projects/cash-transfers-youth#

Mobile Phones and Youth in Africa

ESRC-DFID PI Prof Gina Porter (Durham) co-I Kate Hampshire (Durham) et al 2012-2015, £460,000

https://www.dur.ac.uk/child.phones/

Children, Transport and Mobility in Sub-Saharan Africa

Developing a Child-Centred Evidence Base to Improve Policy and Change Thinking Across Africa

ESRC-DFID PI Prof Gina Porter (Durham), co-I Kate Hampshire (Durham) et al 2006-2009, £353,932.

https://www.dur.ac.uk/child.mobility/

Averting 'New Variant Famine' in Southern Africa: building food-secure livelihoods with AIDS-affected young people

DFID-ESRC £201,757 2007-8 PI Prof Nicola Ansell (Durham), Co-Is Lorraine van Blerk (Dundee) & Elsbeth Robson

Project

Funder

Grant

Started

Status

Project

Building an evidence base to support and enhance community health workers' (informal) use of mobile phones in Ghana, Malawi and Ethiopia

Funder

MRC Medical Research Council

Grant

£4,584.00

Started

1 January 2018

Status

Complete

Project

Social cash transfers, generational relations and youth poverty trajectories in rural Lesotho and Malawi

Funder

ESRC Economic & Social Research Council

Grant

£33,193.00

Started

1 October 2015

Status

Complete

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students in these areas of research interest (and beyond):

Sub-Saharan Africa

Global Development

Children and Youth

Gender and Feminism

Ethics and Justice

COVID-19

CURRENT PhD STUDENTS

Mavuto Banda (University of Hull studentship 2020-2023/4) 'Unintended victims of modern humanitarian ant-slavery bans: An evaluation of child labour bans in Malawi's commercial agriculture' (Lead supervisor)

Lucia Crowther (Wellcome Trust Doctoral Studentship) 'Exploring 'the domestic' in contemporary hospice architecture: A critical examination of the architecture and design of in-patient palliative care facilities in England' (Acting lead/third supervisor)

COMPLETED PhDs (Lead Supervisor)

Nicola Ansell 1999 ‘Southern African secondary schools: places of empowerment for rural girls? Cases from Lesotho and Zimbabwe', Department of Environmental Social Sciences: Keele University. (now Professor in Human Geography, Brunel University).

Mayeso Lazaro 2018 (University of Hull studentship 2015 -2018) ‘Grandfathers caring for orphaned grandchildren in rural Southern Malawi: Invisible in plain sight?' (now Lecturer in Human Ecology, University of Malawi).

Bronia Cross 2019 (University of Hull studentship 2014 - 2017) ‘The historical geographies of European Childhood in Colonial Africa: Children's lives in Nyasaland 1889-1964'.

Kalliopi Kaparounaki 2019 (University of Hull studentship 2014 - 2017) ‘Caregiving children in Malawi: Children's work within families affected by illness and disability' (now Lecturer in social work, Dundee University).

Mbali Pewa 2020 (Commonwealth Scholarship 2015 - 2019) ‘Household Waste Management in a South African Township' (now Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of the Free State, Qwaqwa Campus, South Africa)

Consultancy/Industry advisory role

Chair Research and Evaluation Ethics Committee, Save the Children UK

2016 - 2019

Ethics role

Member of Research and Evaluation Ethics Committee, Save the Children UK

2019 - 2022

Honorary position

Fellow, African Studies Centre, Leiden University

2015

Journal editorial role

International Editorial board member, Children's Geographies journal

2016

Co-editor Children's Geographies journal

2012 - 2016

Membership/Fellowship of professional body

UKCGE Recognised Research Supervisor

2022

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

2015

Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers)

1990

National/International learned society/body role

Council member, African Studies Association UK

2019 - 2022